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The project was started by a retired couple, Michael and Jane. Michael passed away in 2019 and their son Victor took over the management of the project. Victor will respond to most of your emails since he has easy access to the internet.
Mariole is the Principal of the school and takes care of the daily management of the school. Feel free to talk to Victor or Mariole on whatsap to arrange for how you can reach the project and also answer most of your questions.
They run a school on Rusinga Island off the shores of Lake Victoria, Kenya. In 2005 we established Academy to get more children into school. We saw that it was near impossible for the nursery age group to walk the long distance to the existing school and during the rainy season access to the school was impossible for all age groups. Academy is a mixed primary school for children from ages 3 to 16 years old, with a total of 150 children. The school helps provide for the education and well-being of orphans and vulnerable children, and through this project we are also able to support students who are consistently unable to pay their school fees.
We are working towards being able to feed the students at Academy one meal per day. We would like to provide quality education to cover all primary school years, from baby class (age 3) up to class 8 (age 16), and eventually secondary school years.
In the short term, we would also like to organise presentations with local leaders to educate parents and families on the importance of preservation of the environment, gender awareness and health & nutrition. We are a non-profit organization juggling to keep all costs at an absolute minimum so we can invest all of our funds into the school. From our years of experience we have seen that educating a child has an enormous impact on their families and the entire community. The students themselves disseminate the knowledge with their peers and parents. Education really is the key to a better future!
Volunteering with us is a unique opportunity to combine adventurous travel with volunteering for a worthwhile cause. It is a rare opportunity to gain insight into a completely different culture and way of life. We are looking for volunteers with a large variety of skills: from assistance at the school, including teaching and organic gardening, to more technical support, such as web-design, fundraising and project management.
We are currently working hard on a website with the help by volunteers we are trying to get our children a sponsor to keep them in school longer. Some of these children come from poverty stricken families. Some of them only survive on the food provided at the school in a day.
The sponsorship to include food, clothing, medical care and education. The sponsorship is 5 dollars per month. You can as well choose to sponsor a child without necessarily coming to volunteer.
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
Cultural interaction uncovers an interesting aspect of integration and bridging of cultural differences. It opens up understanding of human lifestyles and creates an appreciation of the diversity on our planet.
You will have an opportunity to interact with the local Luo community and their beautiful environment here. The island is home to a huge array of wild animals, notably the diverse species of birds, but monkeys also live in the hills, and if you eat fish you will have the chance to enjoy the local varieties fresh from the lake, such as tilapia, omena and Nile perch. The school will keep you busy during the week days but there are many fascinating places to visit during your free time in the evenings and at weekends:
• Ruma national game park
• Lake Victoria and its islands, [Mbasa (also known as the bird island), Mfangano, Takawiri, Nghode]
• Tom Mboya mausoleum (an important figure in Kenya's political history who came from Rusinga Island)
• Landing and fishing beaches
• Kit mikai stones
• Hot springs close to Homa Bay
• Legendary Lake close to Homa Bay
• The Masai Mara
TYPE OF HELP:
• General Maintenance
• Teaching English and help with other curriculum subjects (Science, Mathematics, Kiswahili, Social Studies)
• Project management
• Updating of our Web page
TEACHING FOREIGN LANGUAGES
The national education curriculum changed and we now have foreign languages such as Spanish and French. We need volunteers to help with teaching any of these subjects. No qualification needed as long as you have basic knowledge in these two subjects. You can come with a few books for basics.
It is essential that you speak English for an effective collaboration. We are looking for people that can help in any of the following:
- connect our non-profit project to prospective sponsors or businesses
- grant writing for the project fundraising programs
- children sponsorship for educational costs
• School assistance:
- assisting teachers with music, arts & craft, sports, English development and curriculum subjects
- searching for opportunities for twinning/partnerships with schools abroad
NOTE: School closes during the months of April, August and December. If you are looking to work in the school you should avoid volunteering during these months.
• School organic vegetable garden:
The school has an organic garden for growing vegetables which are used for our feeding program. The planting and harvesting season runs from April till July.
NOTE: If you are looking to work in the organic garden should aim to volunteer during the planting and harvesting months.
• Project management:
We are looking for opportunities to further develop and improve of our project. If you have experience and skills in this area we would welcome your input.
• Help increase efficiency and sustainability of the project
Creation of a You Tube channel that captures the culture and traditions of this region (eg. cooking videos, impacts of climate change, storytelling, daily routine)
Music club and creative Arts
We have formed music and creative arts department that will be active even during school holidays. These are majorly introduced to exploit the hidden talents of the children. Anyone who wants to donate or support us with any musical instruments such as piano, guitar, ukulele, flutes etc are encouraged to do so.
Permaculture and Environmental conservation
We are determined to promote permaculture to help mitigate and restore the depleted Rusinga Island ecosystems. We have a small permaculture farm that is geared towards enhancing the food security and poverty eradication. We are implementing soil conservation in the village, planting trees at the newly launched Michael Odula Memorial Community Forest, that was initiated by the community members in memory of the founder of the school, the late Michael A.N Odula, UNEP Global 500 Laureate, (1990), for his outstanding achievement in Environmental Protection of Education. We work closely with schools, women and youth groups, farmers, community forest association etc.
We need volunteers to help in our permaculture farm, tree nursery and the maintenance of the newly launched memorial forest.
NOTE: for those interested in videography we don't have any equipment available on site so please bring your own.
If you have any skills which you feel could be beneficial to us we would love to hear from you. When contacting us please describe the work you are interested in doing and we will send you a booklet with further information.
Below is our wish list of the things the volunteers can Carry with them
Donations of clothes for orphans
Used laptop or new computer for youth and children training
English book for Kids
Construction blocks (for games)
Small cars / toys
Baby-barbie / dolls
Dinnette. Cooking play
Balls (football, rudby, volley, soft) and pomp
Pappers , Pens, pencils, colors to paint and brushs.
Old cloths and shoes
Swahili (Kiswahili): Fluent
This host offers a language exchange
We have a team of professionals who will help you learn Kiswahili and dholuo (local dialect). Let us know if you are interested
You will be fully immersed in a traditional Kenyan lifestyle. Volunteers share a guest house within the same compound as the main house. A private room may be requested depending on the number of volunteers expected. The kitchen and sitting room are shared with the host family. We provide three home cooked authentic Kenyan meals a day which are eaten together with the family. Please inform us whether you have any special dietary requirements.
We provide blankets, bed sheets, mosquitoes nets, clean water (we drink treated rain water and previous volunteers have experienced no issues with this, but bottled water is available to purchase in shops nearby ( around 20 minutes walking ) if you would prefer) and solar electricity for lighting. Please bring personal power banks, I highly recommend to get a solar power bank as our home is not connected to electricity . Smoking is also not allowed inside any of the houses but volunteers are allowed to smoke outside if they wish.
Like in most rural Kenyan homes there is no running water on the compound, which means that we use pit latrines and bucket showers to wash. You are welcome to play with the chicken, goats, donkeys, cat and dogs that happily run freely on the compound grounds. We do not provide internet through wifi on the compound but you may buy an internet bundle (at the airport, in Nairobi or at the local shops here) or visit Mbita (the closest town) for Internet access in a cafe. We suggest using Safaricom sim cards as they provide the best internet and phone signal across the island.
LANGUAGES SPOKEN: Kiswahili, English and Dholuo
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2-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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